Forget about Wii! A new revelation in the robotic sports industry starred in the latest International Robot exhibition held in Tokyo. More surprising was the fact that it came from... Vietnam?
Ever since the spectators saw the robot playing ping-pong like a pro, they've tried to get in touch with the official representatives from Tosy, the manufacturer of the first Vietnamese human-shaped robot. The best thing of all is the fact that interacting with the robot doesn't imply the use of any type of wires, cables, or else. It's just you against the ping-pong machine.
TOPIO can and will play tennis with just about any courageous human being who dares to confront it. Its appearance could remind you of manga cartoons, but at least it comes with a head, two hands and no less than six legs. This body structure helps the bot paddle the ball, calculate scores and more. What gives even more real flavor to the whole steel body is its capability of express feelings when loosing or winning a game. Hopefully, it won't literally "kick your ass" if you happen to win a match. And that's a huge "If"!
Regarding its show during the robo event, Ho Vinh Hoang, the General Director and Chief Designer of the TOPIO project, stated that "the robot is getting special attention from experts and exhibition visitors, particularly major international technology companies and the mass media", as Vietnamnet.vn writes. This smells like huge sponsorships and media craze.
And since one giant-yet unknown U.S company has express its willingness to buy a couple of TOPIOs for cool upgrading, I guess we might see these robots out sooner than expected.
Still, with so many competitors out there, this could either mean big business or small fry, but then again, it's a huge industry in which every idea gets to be cloned and Vii is only one example.
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